AP Personal and public identities / Contemporary Life: “How does our language reflect our identity, our culture, and our attitudes?”

This is the fifth of a series of posts about French AP. Several colleagues told me it would be helpful if I shared my materials so here we go! Feel free to critique them, use them, share them, toss them, ask questions about them, whatever you like! I try to give credit where credit is deserved but if you find that I forgot to credit a person or an organization, please do let me know.

For my AP curriculum, click here. Please note that my students have had 5 years of French by the time they reach AP.

This unit takes the students through a deeper understanding of the ties between culture and language. I typically run this unit in March in order to hit March 20th, Journée internationale de la Francophonie. Here is the folder and a summary of what students can do during this unit:

1. Analyze how the language we speak is influenced by our culture and other cultures

Using the example of the removal of the term “Mademoiselle” from official government forms, we explore how language has to adapt to modern times. This also allows students to compare their own language to the French language.

Next, through a persuasive essay, we take a position for or against the “réforme de l’orthographe” and we try to understand why it generated such a huge controversy in France.

2. Analyze the status of the French language in Québec by forming a research-based opinion and interviewing a native speaker from Québec

Through watching videos, reading articles, and finding their own reliable sources, students form an educated opinion about the state of the French language in Québec.  I then invite a member of the community who emigrated from Québec to come talk with us. Students collaboratively prepare questions for her. Here is an example of questions my students came up with. As usual, it is so helpful to have done interpretive tasks about this topic before jumping into interpersonal mode!

A major challenge for French teachers in the US is to find authentic audiences. I was lucky enough that we had a family from Québec in our community but if I had not, I would have contacted our travel agency with which we travel to Québec and organized a Skype with someone who works there. If you do not have access to a person from Québec, then here are three suggestions for you:

  1. Epals.com enables you to connect with teachers and classroom from around the world. It is a great resource, and not just for e-pals.
  2. Twitter has a ton of Canadian teachers.
  3. The “French Teachers in the US” FB group could help you connect with someone from Québec.

3. Participate in “la Journée internationale de la Francophonie” ; explore, create, and play with the French language

In the week that leads up to the Journée internationale de la Francophonie (03/20), students learn a little bit more about the OIF and create a cultural product using “Dis-moi dix mots“. To be perfectly honest, I have never been able to dedicate enough time to get to a quality product we could actually submit to the competition but if I did not have an AP exam in May, I would love to do so because it is driven by student choice, it is linguistic and cultural. Unfortunately, the competition closes on March 20, so I cannot use this as a post-exam end of the year project. There are also smaller competitions which are worth investigating.

As a side note, if you are looking for activities to do on 3/20 with novice students, check my post.

I would love to hear what y’all do for Journée internationale de la Francophonie with your AP classes!

Leave a Reply